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Buhari has lost chance to reform Nigeria, says Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie believes government can still do more in spite of the economic downturn. PHOTO: One Aldwych

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie believes government can still do more in spite of the economic downturn. PHOTO: One Aldwych

Delay in the appointment of ministers, failure to check the marauding Fulani herdsmen and flawed monetary policies are all hallmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure, according to award-winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

“He had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria’s path. He wasted it,” Adichie said in an op-ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday.

In spite of her admission that Nigeria, as the most populous nation in Africa, is difficult to govern, and that falling oil prices were beyond the president, Adichie noted that certain policies the present government had implemented were anti-development.

“After an ostensible search for the very best, he presented many recycled figures with whom Nigerians were disenchanted. But the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices, which had begun the year before his inauguration,” she continued.

“Nigeria’s economy is unwholesomely dependent on oil, and while the plunge in prices was bound to be catastrophic, Mr. Buhari’s actions made it even more so.

“He adopted a policy of ‘defending’ the naira, Nigeria’s currency. The official exchange rate was kept artificially low. On the black market, the exchange rate ballooned. Prices for everything rose: rice, bread, cooking oil. Fruit sellers and car sellers blamed ‘the price of dollars’. Complaints of hardship cut across class. Some businesses fired employees; others folded.

“The government decided who would have access to the central bank’s now-reduced foreign currency reserves, and drew up an arbitrary list of worthy and unworthy goods — importers of toothpicks cannot, for example, but importers of oil can. Predictably, this policy spawned corruption: The exclusive few who were able to buy dollars at official rates could sell them on the black market and earn large, riskless profits — transactions that contribute nothing to the economy.”

She said certain presidential actions or inaction are contributing to Nigerians’ declining hope which is precipitated by an economy in a downward slide. These include a selective anti-corruption drive, insecurity occasioned, largely, by activities of Fulani herdsmen, the invasion of judges’ residences by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), and the perceived promotion of ‘northern Sunni Muslim agenda’.

Though Adichie acknowledged the difficulty in solving the malaise she highlighted in the op-ed, she insisted the government could have done more to make the situation better.

“There are no easy answers to Nigeria’s malaise, but the government’s intervention could be more salutary — by prioritising infrastructure, creating a business-friendly environment and communicating to a populace mired in disappointment,” she said.

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  • KWOY

    Thank God there are other voices out there capable of countering the Yoruba propaganda

  • real

    Well this is what happens when you have a military leaders from the 80, that refuse to change, trying to rule a 21st century large country. it is also what we get when the president doesn’t listen to the advice of the people that truly know how to fix things. it is what you get with a president who wasn’t prepare and is also not showing ability to govern.

  • Tony

    Adicha to Large extent I agreed with you except the Fulani herdsmen.

  • vincentumenyiora

    HOW I WISH YOU CAN STUDY MY SOLUTION FOR CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA AND INDEED FOR AFRICA! You’re using my solution for the elections in Nigeria for both your primaries and the main elections whether under (EV) system or not – you are using my ‘Option A-4’ and it is working! It is my intention that the new solution for corruption will work the same way to help matters in Nigeria! Thjr problem I must add is: Who to tell and he/ she is ready or willing to act and do so early! It is happening because of the kind of leaderships that lacks ‘National Orientation’ as I proposed it far back as 1992, folks!

    I HOPE YOU LISTENED TO THE DISCUSSION ON CHANNEL TV this morning by Barr. Nnaji and Timi Frank but solutions for the issues discussed have been handed in that early in my contributions – part of them is here so read on! Buhari is being beguiled I said it earlier! What you’re doing now in Nigeria about corruption cannot endure Buhari – somebody should advise you to study my solution against the crime in Nigeria! You’re using my solution for your elections in Nigeria check this from IBB if you want, they should also show you my letter and the attachment to it dated 4th June 2015 and you can see for yourself what is happening about corruption in Nigeria – I mean if they did not show you that letter – just ask for the letter! My case os like that child crying and pointing its finger in a direction to draw attention and the Scriptures tell us that – Righteousness exalts a nation – Pa 132!

    What you need to consider about these two people is, as ex-military officers whether they are dully elected members of the Senate or of the Lower House otherwise there lies your problem in Nigeria since they are not trained politicians or technocrats to be influenced by the kind of policies to be evolved for the people but, military trained personnel/s, they are in the ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ as, not only cabals but in office by extension on the basis for the furtherance of vendetta and vindictive policies we talked about in Nigeria! If truly they are the influence on President Buhari it only confirms and reminds us about what happened in 1983 – 85 when IBB and Sani Abacha told Nigerians that the (SMC) was not Supreme that it was only God that is Supreme and further, that Buhari was not practicing DEMOCRACY as he claimed with the detentions and arrests so far – a replicate of the experience of that 1983 to 1985! It is not to say (nevertheless) that IBB and Sani Abacha made such desired or advantageous impact for the people in both political and economic considerations!

    So if what is alleged about influence of cabal is true then there is problem in Nigeria of psychology of ex-military against purely civilian administration towards the deliverance of true democracy for Nigeria hence I raised the issue of when Gen. U. S. Grant and his colleagues decided to leave (retired from) American politics if that gesture or decision would not help matter in the civil service set-up and policy declarations in Nigeria as it is obviously evident in our present circumstances? And recall that I posted the poser earlier: Who do you regard as your political leaders in Nigeria? Think about how best to resolve the social and political problems you have in Nigeria through this poser!

    To help you for Nigeria, you’re using my sytem for your elections – ‘Option A-4’ exemplified in the election of 12th June 1993, 6th March 2010 in Anambra State hence its return for use in the 2015 exercise and the now subsequent exercises in Nigeria! You will get the same effect as from ‘Option A-4’, in the policy against corruption universally on the people if you adopt my solution for corruption across the spectrum for Nigeria – what you are doing now is selective and superficial – is not touching the root of the problem therefore, cannot solve the problem in Nigeria because when Buhari goes or leaves office the likelihood is that Nigerians will revert to their old ways – the status quo – a question of nothing ventured and nothing gained; it may even exacerbate the crime going by the psychology of the people!

    Is it not surprising and a matter for astonishment that all this while you have been talking and whaling about corruption and I have been raising this issue on how to check on the crime yet nobody has tried to call for my solution other than the gesture I received from the UNO!